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Penn State Tight End Jesse James to Enter 2015 NFL Draft

Courtesy of PSU Athletics

Owns Penn State Tight End Record With 11 Career Touchdown Catches


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; January 5, 2015 – Junior tight end Jesse James (Glassport) will forgo his final year of eligibility with Penn State and enter the 2015 NFL Draft. The 2014 All-Big Ten honorable mention selection started every game the past two seasons and 31 contests in his career.


“After serious consideration and much discussion with my family, teammates and coaches, I have opted to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft,” James said. “Competing on Sundays has always been my dream and I believe the time to pursue this dream is now. This was an extremely difficult decision to make—my time at Penn State has been amazing and unforgettable. I would like to thank Penn State University, Coach (James) Franklin, Coach (John) Donovan; along with everyone on our incredible coaching staff.


“I want to personally thank my teammates for the memories and lifelong friendships that we have created together. I would especially like to thank the Penn State fans who have stood by us and have provided unconditional support for our team. I will never forget the remarkable experiences that we’ve shared.

We Are!”

“We want to thank Jesse for all he’s done at Penn State and wish him all the best in the NFL,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said. “Jesse has been a big contributor for the program on and off the field and we’re looking forward to watching him at the next level.”


A true junior, James leaves Penn State with 11 career touchdown receptions, breaking a tie with College Football Hall of Fame inductee Ted Kwalick against Maryland this past November for the school record by a tight end.


Named to the Mid-season Mackey Award Watch List, James was third on the squad this season with 38 receptions for 396 yards (10.4), leading the Nittany Lions with three touchdown catches. He made a season-long 44-yard touchdown catch and run in the win over Akron, for his third career scoring grab of 40 yards or longer. He increased his number of catches each year by at least 10 the past two seasons, making 15 catches in 2012, 25 in 2013 and 38 this past season.


James made at least one catch in each of his final 18 games, including three catches for 27 yards in Penn State’s 31-30 overtime win over Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. He made one of the critical plays of the game when he bulled his way to a 17-yard catch on third-and-15 to give the Nittany Lions a first down in overtime. The 6-7, 271-pound James made a career-high seven catches for 60 yards in the season opening win over UCF in Dublin, Ireland.


A standout at South Allegheny High School, James was named an honorable-mention Freshman All-American as a true freshman in 2012. His 31 career starts were tied for second-highest on the squad. James served as director of marketing for Penn State’s Uplifting Athletes chapter, helping the Nittany Lions raise a record total of $151,990 during 2013-14 for the Kidney Cancer Association to push the team’s total past $1 million over the 11 years of the Penn State Lift For Life.


James is working with the staff from the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes to develop a plan to complete his degree in kinesiology.


Penn State will return tight ends Kyle Carter (16-153-1), Mike Gesicki (11-114-0) and Brent Wilkerson (2-18-1) next season and welcome back Adam Breneman, who missed the 2014 season with an injury after starting five games as a true freshman in 2013 (15-186-3). Carter, who will be a senior in 2015, started 10 games this past season and has 16 career starts.


With the departure of James and graduates Deion Barnes and Donovan Smith for the NFL Draft, Penn State returns 15 starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist), and 14 additional players who have started, for the 2015 season. The Blue-White Game is Saturday, April 18 in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions open next season on Saturday, Sept. 5 vs. Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

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